I’ll admit it. I’m a sucker for reality television, especially when it involves Gordon Ramsay screaming at someone’s face. His most popular series, Kitchen Nightmares, opened the world’s eyes to the chaos that badly-managed restaurants can have.
I loved watching this show, simply because it helps me be a better critic. One episode, in particular, caught my eye—the Spanish pavillion in Harrison, New Jersey. It took place in a part of Jersey I’m used to, so I was curious.
It had almost 10 years since Gordon Ramsay came in and helped two brothers revive the restaurant. In Kitchen Nightmares Revisited, things remained poppin’ at the Pavillion. Of course, that means that it’s been a minute since Ramsay came back. So, was it still a good place to go? After wanting to go there for ages, I gave it a shot.
Literally A Pavillion
Since COVID-19 hit, we couldn’t actually go inside the building. So we stayed outside on the pavilion. The area was beautifully covered, had a full bar, a TV, music playing, and also had a bunch of toys that you could entertain yourself with.
Overall, it was hard to hate on the layout. One could only imagine what it was like inside!
The Food And Drinks
With the bar being fully stocked and filled to the brim with tons of beverage options and specials, there’s no denying that this place is a good venue for people who want to party. It’s meant to be a local hangout, really.
When it came to the food, this is where things started to go South—kind of. The menu itself was remarkably affordable, something I didn’t expect from Ramsay. Like, he’s a fancy type of dude, ya know?
While the menu definitely had some fun, authentic Spanish tapas ingredients, something just didn’t seem quite right with the menu. Regardless we ordered a bunch of food and prepped ourselves.
What Went Wrong?
I don’t know how I feel about what I’m about to say, okay?
When the bread came out, it was clearly store-bought. It was served with tiny hotel butter packets. The tapas and the food was reasonably portioned, and it tasted good. However, it just wasn’t gourmet-style. It wasn’t edgy. A lot of the platters just weren’t what I expected out of Ramsay.
Now, I want to repeat that the food wasn’t bad—though it was greasier than I am used to. However, it just didn’t feel like a glitzy restaurant’s food. I could have honestly made a lot of the foods I ate there in the comfort of my own home.
The stuffed sole, for example, was just rolled up fish with plain (but tasty) crab stuffing. The arroz amarillo tasted like it came out of a box. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t the outstanding food you would think Ramsay would approve of.
I’ll be blunt: the food was good. If you are looking for a place that offers up slightly greasy food, cheap drinks, and plenty of fun, the Spanish Pavillion is a great option. It’s the type of place you bring bros after work.
However if you were hoping for Gordon Ramsay-level gourmet? Well, I’m pretty sure that the Spanish Pavillion forgot what everyone’s favorite hot-headed chef taught them. It might be a little disappointing if you were hoping for Hell’s Kitchen-grade food.
|Spanish Pavillion Tapas Bar and Catering|
|31 Harrison Ave, Harrison, NJ 07029, United States|
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